Displaying items by tag: leadership management

Taking the Long View

by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President, Ministry Services

(from Take Heart Volume 2, Issue 1)

A year ending with a zero is a great time to look back at the last time that occurred – 2000 – the unforgettable “Y2K.” Think of all that’s transpired in your organization since 2000. Remember where you were during the dawn of the new millennium. Take note of how different the ministry, the movement, and even the mission appeared to be then. The look back can reveal a journey of challenges and triumphs, victories and setbacks, celebrations and sorrow.

Here’s a question: from the vantage point of 2000, what view did you see out there on the 2010 horizon? What decisions made then are producing dynamic results now for you, your mission, and the movement? What plans were set down then but have yet to come to fruition? How is 2010 different for your community, your peer counseling, and your commitment to the mission?

This year of 2010 is a good time to look forward to the next ten years and begin to develop a “2020 Vision.” Crafting and casting a vision with the year 2020 in mind can help leaders to see beyond the tyranny of the urgent and formulate a vivid picture that can serve to guide the organization well. In clarifying your “2020 Vision,” there are five key concepts to consider:

  1. Positioning versus Planning – “To fail to plan is to plan to fail.” The saying holds true for short-range (one to three-year) planning but can break down over a longer period. Pull out your written plans from 2000. How do the plans from 2000 match the 2010 reality? Of course, planning is simply not possible for some things. A worldwide economic downturn was hardly on anyone’s radar looking back just to 2005 or 2006. But those who positioned themselves well financially (a success that involves -- at the least -- some core planning)– with reserve funds, low or no debt, broad donor base and/or conservative budgeting – have had more leeway to adapt to financial crisis. True, perfect planning requires perfect predictions so only God’s Plan is perfect. Still, good positioning financially, organizationally, relationally, and spiritually can enable positive results even in unexpected environments.
  2. Message versus Method – In 2000, communication methods like I-Pod, Youtube, and Facebook didn’t exist. Today, the methods for marketing and ministry must adapt to account for changes in our target audiences and the culture that influences them. In the midst of these changing methods, the message of pregnancy help work remains constant (even eternal): Christ-centered, compassionate, life-affirming care for those who are challenged by an unintended pregnancy. This core message is carrying the pregnancy help movement to new heights of acceptance even outside the pro-life realm. Our opposition’s deployment of legislative maneuvers and slanderous attacks reveals how effective our message (with varying methods) has been.
  3. Discerning versus Deciding  Any look ahead must involve spiritual discernment. Pregnancy help work is hard. In fact, this work takes more than what we bring to it. It requires the help of the One who called us to it. We desperately need the active involvement of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of the work – especially looking ahead. Prayer – personal and corporate – is a necessary action item to discern what 2020 will look like for the organization including those who lead the mission and fulfill it.
  4. Innovation versus Insulation – A glance back 30+ years shows how much the pregnancy help ministry has grown and changed. Innovation and entrepreneurship were hallmarks of the pioneers who have labored to advance this work. External and internal challenges tempt us to insulate against uncomfortable changes, entice us to formalize the familiar, and lure us to scoff at anything that’s not “the way we’ve always done it.” Over emphasis on “playing it safe” with static processes, antiquated tools, and outdated methods will not serve a mission that faces dynamic transition. Good practices are a “must.” Reliance on stale practices can make us too soon obsolete. Finding the right balance of the tried, the true, and the new is truly a gift from the Holy Spirit.
  5. Leadership versus Management – The mission continues to require leadership at every level and in every aspect. Leadership is different from management. While management is necessary for efficiency, leadership is critical for effectiveness. The pregnancy help movement will see major transitions in leadership over the next ten years. (Yes, even more change than we’ve already seen.) Leaders must nurture leadership in others and try to prepare others to hear the call of God to service. We nurture leadership in others by the example of our own stewardship, the practice of Christian principles, and intentionally mentoring the next generation of leaders. A vivid “2020 Vision” will require new leaders, along with managers, to push the envelope, deepen the impact, and maximize ministry.

As your 2010 unfolds, take time to plan a “2020 Vision” session. Whether in a dedicated meeting of a few hours or a discussion that unfolds over many months, the important thing is to take the time. Take time to sow seed that will flourish for those who will take up the mantle in 2020. Your decisions today will be their harvest then, so take the long view.

 

Out of Control: Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out

by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams

(from Take Heart Volume 1, Issue 8)http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51C527GRH0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg

Do you ever feel out of control? Are you too often over scheduled, over committed, or over tired?

The title of Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams’ book, Out of Control Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out, is a mouthful. But don’t let that fool you! In this book, Young and Adam give us practical insights that are straightforward along with techniques that go right to the heart. They describe how to recognize the lies that feed our out-of-control lifestyles. They give help in rediscovering the power of full engagement through periodic disengagement -- also known as rest! They map out a road to explore deep insights by learning how to choose the life God designed for each of us.

I especially appreciated that the authors of this book did not shame the readers for the way we have been living. They empower us to make changes that will revolutionize our lives so that we maximize our most valuable resources of time and energy.

Reviewed by Betty McDowell, Heartbeat International Director of Ministry Services

Click here to order a copy...

Read more from this edition of Take Heart.

 

From smart decisions to wise leadership

by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President

From On the LeaderBoard | Volume 1, Issue 3

“For wisdom is better than jewels; And all desirable things cannot compare with her” (Proverbs 8:11).

In this age of information, the average leader is awash with details.  The great task of most days is wading through data to assemble, assimilate, and assign value to meaningful information.  But information by itself, without context, isn’t particularly helpful.  It’s likely just trivia.

Information must be organized into meaningful constructs to become knowledge. Knowledge becomes understanding when we find relevant application. Wisdom is manifested in how information, knowledge, and understanding are handled. Wisdom involves judgment, sensitivity, tact, and often, timing.

Where there is no choice, the exercise of wisdom is limited.  It is when we recognize multiple choices, possibilities, or actions that wisdom can become our friend and ally.  Judging between choices and possibilities leads us to questions about what we know, how we know it, and if we know enough.

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. - Francis Bacon

Wisdom often involves balancing the need to gain more information with the available resources (including time) necessary to make an informed decision.

Besides information, there are other wisdom elements that come into play such as sensitivity to those involved or affected. The wise leader works to involve to some degree the stakeholders in the decision-making process.  That could be in the form of a single brainstorming session or, full-on collaborative planning process.  Even the most visionary thinker can have blind spots. Actively seeking the input of others, within reason, can minimize these as well as strengthen acceptance of the outcome.

The wise leader also factors the impact of the decision on others.


Once a decision is made, it is the responsibility of the Christian leader to use the most compassionate means to treat those affected and to support them... - Kurt Senske, Executive Values

There must always be sensitivity to the fact that, even with the best of intentions, some people may be negatively affected. Therefore, the best decisions will include appropriate tactfulness in implementation. Tact is also important in communicating the decision. Crafting vivid, warm, vision-focused language can tactfully define a decision for all involved. 

More than sensitivity and tact, wisdom seeks a process that honors all involved. Hard decisions, even those with difficult short-term consequences, can be implemented with this in mind.

A good decision, implemented in an untimely fashion, can produce negative results.

Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise in time. - Theodore Roosevelt

Wisdom involves timing for many reasons – maximizing return on investment, minimizing negative impact, speed to achieve expected results, slow implementation allowing others to adjust, etc.  Tough decisions can require difficult steps that involve short term pain. But those difficult steps can be accomplished well.

Fortunately, wisdom isn’t just an innate quality reserved for a few. The book of Proverbs consistently implores us to seek and pursue it. Wisdom is promised by the Lord. Those serving in Christian ministry, at whatever level, should consistently pray for wisdom in all endeavors – personal, professional, and organizational.

“For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright…” (Proverbs 2:6-7).

Adapted from Heartbeat International’s foundational training manual, GOVERN Well™

 

The Grace of God's Faithfulness

grace 

Grace Chanda Swala was on the verge of giving up.

Having become executive director for Mansa Silent Voices in Zambia just a year ago, Grace and her family had laid the comfort of living in their own home on the altar, hoping to raise support for the fledgling center by renting out their home.

But by the time late July rolled around, and the Africa Cares for Life conference along with it, Grace was on the brink of losing heart.

Her heart burdened for the women and children in her community, and her spirit all but crushed under the weight of financial stress and worry, the five-day bus ride from Zambia to Durbin, South Africa, seemed like an eternity.

Would her center ever reach and rescue the women she passed by on the street every day? Could her ministry thrive under such tight constraints and seemingly insurmountable obstacles?

Would Grace and her family face financial ruin because of their selfless sacrifice on behalf of women and babies in Mansa?

Meanwhile, as Grace traveled the five days from Mansa to Durbin, grace was traveling halfway across the world to meet her, as Heartbeat International’s Director of Ministry Services Betty McDowell arrived for a full week of speaking and teaching at the conference.

Betty’s week started with a visit to Pregnancy Resource Centre, a maternity home in Durbin, and followed up with an in-depth day on fundraising all day Monday and into Tuesday morning.

While teaching two sessions on Heartbeat’s Sexual Integrity™ Program early in the week, Betty delivered two keynotes to the 80-plus person conference, which included representatives from three African nations.

“Vision came through as a major theme at this conference,” Betty said. “These friends face so many hardships we don’t here in the U.S., or even most parts in the west. It blew me away to hear from each organization about the problems they deal with: HIV, high crime rates, and even personal safety at risk on a day-to-day basis, and yet they keep at their work in spite of all these obstacles.”

“Africa Cares for Life did a superb job with this conference, and so much of the credit goes to Shanno Enoch, who was running her first conference as Executive Director,” Betty said. “That group is such an encouraging example of what true learners and servant-leaders look like.”

As the conference, “New Beginnings… Bountiful Harvest,” progressed, leaders like Grace were refreshed, encouraged and better equipped to hold fast to the Gospel of Life in spite of the daunting challenges they face every day.

For Grace, the conference truly proved to be a new beginning. As she boarded the bus back to Mansa, prepared for five days en route home, Grace reveled in the encouragement, instruction, and fellowship that had left her rejuvenated, and freshly ready to pursue her God-given call.

Grace also reflected on God’s faithfulness to provide a harvest. Even after a hard year of working the Zambian soil.


by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant

 

 

Getting Good Outcomes: More or Better?

 

by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President

Probably the most common question asked when center leaders get together is, “How many unique clients do you see?”

Presumably, the higher the client number, the better the outreach. And it seems to follow, the better the outreach, the better the outcomes. But does this really reveal the whole picture? The answer in a word... hardly.

Yes, more client numbers generally suggests there are actually more “outcomes.” But does it naturally follow that those outcomes are “better”?

The answer to this question requires a deeper look, beyond focusing on total client numbers, and more closely evaluating the outcomes they represent. We have to ask, “What outcomes are we representing?”

Do we count a last known intention after one visit the same as that of a client we’ve seen several times throughout her pregnancy?

How do we qualify discussions relative to spiritual interactions? As faith-motivated ministries, we recognize the context of a life-and-death decision is every bit as spiritual as specifically choosing to follow Christ. Do we count both as equal in light of our mission?

Forty-plus years into the pregnancy help ministry, we all stand on the backs of entrepreneurs who blazed the trail before us. Those courageous folks—some of whom are still very active in our ministry today—tackled challenges like getting real-time pregnancy test results (before the easy tests were available) and getting listed in the Yellow Pages.

These pioneers learned to successfully draw someone who was not looking for their services (even though they desperately needed it), and that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our movement, as we push into the new electronic marketing frontiers and mobile device client intake.

With that, we must continually make room for the intrapreneurs among us—those who may not push the envelope per se, but who work to maximize their ministry’s effectiveness. Intrapreneurs spend time on process, protocol and efficiency (not to be confused with effectiveness).

These in turn help serve better outcomes as well as more outcomes. Pushing into new territory is important, but not to the exclusion of developing the territory we are already in. Thankfully, God provides those with temperaments fit for the task.

Take up the task of becoming a pregnancy help movement Intrapreneur today. You can begin by taking one more look at how you evaluate your outcomes.

What does true success look like?

 
by Jor-El Godsey, Vice President

Before you break out the mission statement, ministry tag-line or branded sound-bite, let’s look past today’s pundits’ and consultants’ definition of success.

Let’s see what the “Owner’s Manual” has to say about success. After all, if we are a Christian ministry, or simply Christians ministering, we should understand what the Bible has to say about success.

The New International Version has only a couple dozen occurrences of the word “success” (a few dozen more if we add “successor,” “successive,” etc.), and all of them are in the Old Testament.

When success is the subject of the verse, we see two distinct patterns. First, success is something that comes from the Lord, like Nehemiah 2:20: “I answered them by saying, ‘The God of heaven will give us success...’” Second, success is a reward for partnering/cooperating with the Lord, like we find in 2 Chronicles 26:5b: “As long as [King Uzziah] sought the LORD, God gave him success.”

Notice also that success noted in the examples above can be both corporate (“give us”) and individual (“gave him”). And again, success is noted as a gift from the Lord.
Although the New Testament has no direct references to “success,” there are two themes that seem to indicate success among believers. These two, like the Old Testament references, are indicative of working and receiving from God.

1. Faithfulness. In 1 Corinthians 4:2, the Apostle Paul explains, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Our Lord asks us to be full of faith, particularly faith He will accomplish what He desires, both in and through us.

2. Fruitfulness. In the Gospel of John (15:8), Jesus states, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Fruit, ostensibly good fruit, is also an indicator of our relationship to God and our faith in Him. We were created for good works (Ephesians 2:8-10) that bring glory to Him and advance His kingdom (in our hearts and elsewhere).

So, in our work today, success is more than any “outcome” (that word only shows up once... in The Message) related to our mission. Positive outcomes are excellent and to be celebrated as one measure of success. But as both ministers and ministries, our success must include faithfulness to the mission—even in the face of opposition—and fruitfulness where we count the victories of those who embrace life, and life everlasting.

As you take stock of the year just past, look back a little further. Rick Warren says we “overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, and yet underestimate what we can do in a decade.”

Look back over the last decade (or more) as a minister and a ministry, and celebrate the success of faithfulness and fruitfulness.

Tasking volunteers?

by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President

volunteers“Let’s get the volunteers to do it. That will save a bundle!”

Volunteers are often seen as a supply of labor for almost any task or for the implementation of an action item. Leaders - board members and directors alike - often assume that volunteers are the least expensive option available. Think again.

Many moons ago, our pregnancy help center utilized a team of volunteers to accomplish the bulk mailing of our newsletters and appeals.  Trays of printed material and envelopes along with stickers and labels were distributed. Presto, some two weeks later the mailing had been delivered.

Upon closer inspection, we realized that, in addition to the volunteer time, two staff members had spent ten work hours (a total of twenty staff hours) each mailing cycle to coordinate the assembly, distribution, and postal paperwork for this process.  A local mailing service (also known as a fulfillment house) that had more sophisticated equipment could lower the postal rate and turn the same task around in three working days as opposed to two weeks. Cost comparisons revealed that, for just a few dollars more, we could improve our process, tighten our turn around, and release several volunteers to more personally rewarding tasks.

All leaders recognize the scarcity of resources to accomplish the mission and achieve the vision.  The good leader continually evaluates how to allocate the limited resources available for maximum return on the investment for the ministry and those involved. 

Adapted from DIRECT Well™, Heartbeat International’s manual for directors.

From On the LeaderBoard | Volume 2, Issue 2

 

Are you alert and oriented x4?

2bdbdefby Betty McDowell, Heartbeat International Director of Ministry Services

As a social worker in the mental health field, I was trained to assess a patient’s level of alertness and orientation by asking them four questions: (1) Who are you? (2) Where are you? (3) What is the date and time? (4) What just happened to you?

This simple exercise helped determine the next steps in diagnosing the patient and constructing a treatment plan. But I have since discovered the value of asking the same four questions to those serving in ministry when I try to help them diagnose a problem and move forward in a clear direction.

How would you answer these four questions?

  1. Who are you?
    The simple answer Christians like to give is, "I am a child of God."  While this is true, it’s also true that we are uniquely created with specific gifts, talents and dreams. Living the abundant life Jesus promised requires us to further discover who we really are, and who we were created to be. Take time, through God's word, prayer and the counsel of others, to discover what you really believe about yourself, God and the world around you. Your decisions come from the core of who you are and what you believe — and that includes what you believe about yourself.

  2. Where are you?
    Is this the ministry, career and life that you are meant to be living? What are the dreams God has placed in your heart? Are you on your way to fulfilling those dreams and callings? Most of us lead busy lives and are trying to find ways to do the things we do faster, but it’s a healthy practice to slow down for a moment and make sure you’re where you belong.

  3. What time is it?
    There are seasons in our lives that require different commitments of our time and attention. For example, several years ago, through the leading of the Holy Spirit and conversations with my husband, we decided that it was best for our family if I focused most of my time, talent and attention on our children—even though it meant modifying my career ambitions. Then, once our children were in school, I devoted more time to ministry outside of the home, and to my career. Now that our children are grown, the time has come for me to engage more fully in the calling on my life, and I’m now able to chase the dreams of my heart. What is the time and season of your life?

  4. What just happened?
    Are you walking around in a haze—or a daze—and unaware of the world around you? What are you witnessing in the lives of those around you?  What are others witnessing in your life? Sometimes, we are so caught up with our goals and to-do lists that we miss opportunities to fully connect with God and the people we love most. 

I have found that spending a little time at the end of each day to review my answers to these four questions has been a great habit. You too may find this practice valuable in becoming alert and oriented x4.

Also check out the link to "The Daily Examen" by St. Ignatius:
http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/how-can-i-pray/

Knowledge vs. confidence: What Smarty Pants doesn't know

by Leslie Malek

Any organization can stumble over the “Smarty-Pants” phenomenon.  You may have witnessed this in your pregnancy help organization. Your team gathers to brainstorm. One confident person has a lot to say, speaks forcefully, sounds convincing, and everyone else defers to her passionate solution. This is the solution that will “save the day” – in theory. 

In practice, it may be no solution at all. Smarty Pants has lots of ideas but quite possibly doesn’t actually know as much as she thinks she does. The real solutions that the less confident team members offered, or kept to themselves, fell under the imposing weight of Smarty Pants. Confident of intuition but without cause, Smarty Pants doesn’t know that she doesn’t know. A number of studies have explored the smarty-pants effect on groups and found over and over that people defer to information that comes from a confident person but in fact, there is an inverse relationship between confidence and knowledge. 

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments” by Justin Kruger and David Dunning of Cornell University documents this phenomenon. The authors suggest that overconfident people often lack social and intellectual skill and thereby not only tend to erroneous conclusions and unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.

More simply put, a lack of knowledge tends to lead a person to greater confidence than is warranted.  The over-confidence that Smarty Pants projects leads people to believe that she is actually more knowledgeable than Smarty Pants really is.

At Harvard University, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons carried out a number of experiments on this topic.  In one experiment known as The Invisible Gorilla (now a classic in psychology), two groups, one wearing black and the other wearing white, pass two basketballs around. The viewers are asked to count the number of times the basketball is passed, something that is easy to do.  Interestingly, half the viewers completely miss that a gorilla walks through the action and thumps its chest. Even more interesting, according to Simons, is the deep-rooted belief held by most people that they would notice something as out of place as a gorilla at basketball practice. In a survey commissioned by Chabris and Simons, more than 75 percent of a representative sample of American adults “agreed that they would notice such unexpected events, even when they are focused on something else.” Two things stand out from this experiment: people miss a lot of what goes on around them and they often have no idea that they are missing so much. They don't know that they don't know.

Another experiment by Chabris and Simon involved groups of people working together to solve a math problem.  Instead of deferring to the person with the greatest math knowledge, the group deferred to the most confident person, regardless of that person’s knowledge. In 94 percent of the cases, each group’s final answer was the first answer suggested, regardless whether it was right or wrong, and it was the most confident person present who offered this answer.

Teams make the most progress when they are able to distinguish between confidence and knowledge. Effective team leaders make sure that everyone has input. The leader does help the group recognize the relationship between opinions and the actual knowledge and experience behind that information and does not just allow the most confident person to sway the result. Great team leaders also know that they do not know everything: that is why great leaders surround themselves with skilled and knowledgeable team members who do know a lot about their area of expertise. The leader and team members must explore what the individuals of the group actually know -- before coming to a conclusion.

A team that defers to confidence instead of knowledge and experience can make some astoundingly bad decisions.

The take away? Pay attention to the opinions of the most self-effacing, best listeners, and weigh the real expertise and knowledge of the most confident members on your team.

Encouragement Changes Everything: Bless and Be Blessed

Encouragement Changes Everything: Bless and Be BlessedBook review by Debbie Schirtzinger, Heartbeat International Affiliation Coordinator

“What does true encouragement look like – the kind that changes lives forever? To encourage people is to help them gain courage they might not otherwise possess – courage to face the day, to do what’s right, to take risks, and/or to make a difference. And the heart of encouragement is to communicate a person’s value.  When we help people feel valuable, capable, and motivated we sometimes see their lives change forever – and then see them go on to change the world.

“God’s love for us gives us the reason to encourage others.
God’s love in us gives us the ability to encourage others.
God’s love through us gives us the way to encourage others.”

Encouragement is an essential part of growing a positive attitude and improving life; and providing that encouragement benefits both the giver and the receiver(s). This book is packed with timeless quotes, scriptures, and short but meaningful stories that illustrate the value of offering and receiving encouragement. Author John Maxwell shares ways to effectively provide the kind of encouragement that transforms individuals, families, churches, and work teams into happier, healthier, more affirming networks.

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